Degrowth… Or Death?

 

We were very surprised to find out that the “degrowth movement” already started in 2006… MSM has obviously done a good job at avoiding the topic as it was protecting Wallstreet and Co during all this time — but now regard it as the beginning of an answer. According to vice.com, the first international conference about degrowth was in Paris in 2008 and attracted around 140 people! Did you hear of it?

We shouldn’t be standing on the edge of the cliff to consider the unthinkable. But society is conditioned to react that way because profit always comes first.

The Radical Plan to Save the Planet by Working Less (May 29 2019)

VICE.COM: The degrowth movement wants to intentionally shrink the economy to address climate change, and create lives with less stuff, less work, and better well-being. But is it a utopian fantasy?

Until the world mega pollution is being radically addressed, let’s not mention “climate change”. We feel that these two words are pushed down our throats to geo-engineer the climate further, with the silent approval of the masses. Unfortunately, pollution being so much out of whack, any earth oriented solutions will definitely sound “utopian”. But it is time to chose… Utopia or Dystopia?

Since World War II, the gross domestic product (GDP) measure has been used as “the ultimate measure of a country’s overall welfare.” One of John F. Kennedy’s staff economists, Arthur Okun, theorized that for every 3-point rise in GDP, unemployment would fall a percentage point—one reason why presidential campaigns fixate on the measure.

Monetarism wonderfully works on paper, as a theory, because it deliberately ignores “dark market forces” lurking in the shadows set into motion by competition. For one thing, what is perceived as wealth today cannot spread evenly because education itself is being monopolized to make sure that the “dark forces” remain ahead of the curve. They master all the means to accumulate and concentrate wealth. The game is already rigged from the start, fueling both sides of the fence: capitalism vs socialism. But EC prefer to use the word “monetarism” as both ideologies depend on “it”.

We’d argue that all it would take is to get rid of “these few extremely dominant players”, but that remains to be seen because the competition model is the problem, and others would replace them quite rapidly. There is just no way to prevent collusion. How ludicrous would it be to prohibit rich people from making deals among themselves? The flaws are thus built-in.

The Green New Deal, popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seeks to decrease carbon by growing the renewable energy industry. But the degrowth movement believes we need to take this further, by designing a social upheaval that disentangles the idea of progress and economic growth once and for all. This new accounting of economic success would instead focus on access to public services, a shorter work week, and an increase in leisure time. Their approach, they say, will not only combat climate change, but free us from a workaholic culture in which so many struggle to make ends meet.

Earth Custodians have yet to hear how the renewable energy industry would be able take over while all the world mega polluters still are in business? Should they be shut down, the mother of all economic crashes would ensue. Unless of course the planetary de-montization happens first. And this alone exposes the Green New Deal as a deception.

The degrowth movement is making the right steps toward the only exit possible though. We work 40hrs weekly to keep overproduction and hyperconsumerism at full speed while destroying our Earth.

The only weakness of the degrowth movement is that it thinks that UBI (universal basic income) is necessary and there lies the illusion, because UBI will use the same current “monetary template”. Not to mention that the top 1% will still be able to control any outcomes. Under these conditions, UBI can never work out. The fact is that the degrowth movement cannot become reality without the abolition of monetarism either.

The question was no longer if there was a limit to growth. The new question was much bigger: How can we self-impose a limit to growth when our entire economic and political structure is based on it? How do we organize a society that delivers high levels of human well-being in the context of a shrinking economy?

These lines here above highlight intellectual denial as growth has led us to nowhere but an impasse. There is no “soft cure” and the transition won’t be painless if society sticks to its materialistic anchors. We ought to realize that “endless growth” is a mirage caused by the irrationality of value.

Without a critical mass coming to term with the reality of what is, nothing will ever change. However, once monetarism is taken out of the picture, the worry about a “shrinking economy” does not need to be.

Man is, without a doubt, conditioned to project into purchases his own self-esteem but the pleasure taken in buying is very short lived because the left and right brain hemispheres are not wired for consumerism at all but creativity and sharing mainly.

Degrowth is now a buzz word in left-leaning and academic circles around the world; its proponents are economists, environmentalists, democratic socialists, and activists, young and old. They see a post-growth world as a way to fundamentally change how we measure success and well-being, thereby addressing our growing financial and social inequalities while also saving the planet.

All the reasons cited here are valuable, the only question as stipulated above is how to get there? While engaging in any discussion, it is also essential to refrain ourselves from using the word socialism and capitalism, which are meant to divide and conquer. Any “post growth” supporter that does not side with RBE – resource based economy – is not well informed about the stakes.

A post growth system must be characterized by a consumption based on the amount of human collaboration — and machinery — to extract natural resources, utilizing non-polluting agents of any kinds and with an extreme focus on recycling to fight obsolescence. Many people, in a RBE economy, will essentially contribute to the food sector and create their own furniture and clothing with 3D printers. Also help their fellows relocate and build eco-friendly housing.

Giorgos Kallis, an environmental scientist and political ecologist at The Autonomous University of Barcelona, and author of the book Degrowth. In order to slow the economy down and not wreak havoc, he said, we have to reconfigure our ideas about the entire economic system.

Here we go, right on. It is not money which is in command but the mind. And that is why we need a critical mass to initiate the shift.

There lies Earth Custodians’ mission: to help let go the archaic thought of competition, which money has fueled at the expense of the whole planet. Changing society is above all a story of individual redemption (forgiving oneself for believing in a fiction that can never be) for a greater good.

This is how degrowthers envision the process: After a reduction in material and energy consumption, which will constrict the economy, there should also be a redistribution of existing wealth, and a transition from a materialistic society to one in which the values are based on simpler lifestyles and unpaid work and activities.

This blueprint is kind of naive: as long as money isn’t declared obsolete, the rich will continue to hold onto his possessions. The less rich too. Almost everybody.

Degrowth critics say that this is more of an ideology than a practical way forward—that shrinking the entire economy wouldn’t successfully get carbon levels down to zero, and that given the unequal income distribution that exists already, constricting the economy could rob those who need it the most of essentials like energy and food.

Sure, considering what we say above: terminating any industry that is detrimental to earth and her inhabitants won’t happen. And rightfully, pro-growth economists predict a downturn worse than the great depression. Actually degrowth or not, that is where we are headed to.

A plan to get to zero carbon emissions in 30 years would mean shutting down one of the world’s most powerful industries. He thinks that that is ambitious enough without trying to implement other broad societal changes. “If we take the climate science seriously, we only have a few decades to make huge progress,” Pollin said. “And whether I like it or not, we’re not going to overthrow capitalism in that time.”

Well, that remains to be seen of course, because we do not have that much time left if we’re serious about healing Nature and our quality of life at once. And that will require the end of centralization enabled by monetarism. The choice is “ours”….”yours”… our dilemma is simple but very complex at once.

Earth Custodians invite their readers to spread the word and help make this blog viral. People are entitled to know about the “utopian but reaslistic solution” of a money-free world powered by RBE!

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/bj9yjq/the-radical-plan-to-save-the-planet-by-working-less?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR0wUpbUGtQwbbR_H5pYd8eDYtEW3GodzYuQfQQFCbFup3J80t4PaTSE6nE

(This vice.com article is pretty long and EC will elaborate on it more extensively in our next video presentation)

FURTHER READINGS

The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth. 238 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP. (2018) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/16/the-eu-needs-a-stability-and-wellbeing-pact-not-more-growth

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